Sally Jewell Meets New Jersey Youth Corps Members, Announces New Hurricane Sandy Restoration Grants, and Promotes Emphasis on Youth in Major Speech

Sally Jewell puts on New Jersey Youth Corps attire.

Written by the New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipburg with additional reporting from The Corps Network

Last week, New Jersey Youth Corps programs from Camden and Phillipsburg, by invitation of the Secretary of the Interior, attended a press event at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway Twp, NJ. On behalf of President Obama, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined Interior and local officials to announce that $162 million will be invested in 45 restoration and research projects that will better protect Atlantic Coast communities from future powerful storms, by restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches, rebuilding shorelines, and researching the impacts and modeling mitigation of storm surge impacts.

Using the dramatic backdrop of Atlantic City as a stark contrast to the some 40,000 acres of wildlife habitat, Secretary Jewell stressed the importance of preserving our natural treasures, preparing for and building resiliency against future storms as well as developing projects with strong youth components. After her press conference, the Secretary had a private meet & greet with Corpsmembers (US Fish & Wildlife Director Daniel Ashe and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ12th) also participated) They thanked the Youth Corps for all their efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, encouraged the Corpmembers to pursue careers in the environmental field and to continue their great work all throughout the state.

Earlier this week, Mary Ellen Ardouny of The Corps Network attended an additional event in Alexandria, Virginia where Sally Jewell further promoted the restoration projects at the National Park Service managed Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve. In all, $162 million for 45 projects were authorized (list here). They also announced that the Department would issue a Request for Proposals for an additional $100 million in grant funding under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program. We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress toward getting Youth Corps to work on these types of projects.

In a major policy speech today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Secretary Jewell also outlined a major emphasis on connecting youth to public lands through a new effort in 50 cities, through K-12 education in “outdoor classrooms”, through volunteerism, and through training and employment opportunities like the 21st Century Conservation Corps (click here to watch the segment of the speech about youth). Further details were not immediately available, but we are glad to hear that Secretary Jewell remains committed to connecting youth to public lands!